Hit BBC spy spine chiller, Killing Eve has triumphed at the TV Baftas, with its star, Jodie Comer shedding tears as she was named best actress.
Comer, who plays professional killer Villanelle in the hit thriller, shook off her cool, screen adjust sense of self to turn on the “waterworks” in front of an audience at the Royal Festival Hall the previous evening. She beat co-star Sandra Oh – who plays the operative on a mission to catch her – to the gong.
“Thank you so much,” Comer said. “Sorry I’m the only one who’s turned on the waterworks.” She dedicated the award to her grandmother, saying: “Nana Frances sadly passed away on the first week of filming.
“She never got to see Villanelle, the life and soul of everything. She’d say ‘you get it off me you know’. I want to say ‘Nana Frances, you were absolutely right all along’.”
Comer, who revealed she spent years as a child watching the Baftas in her bedroom, also paid tribute to the show’s creator. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, as well as Line Of Duty’s Stephen Graham, a fellow Liverpudlian.
Killing Eve also won best drama series, beating another BBC hit, Bodyguard. Waller-Bridge said: “I can’t speak, it’s so unbelievably exciting. Thanks for everyone for taking risks. Jodie Comer almost swallowed a wasp in Tuscany.”
Another member of the Killing Eve cast, Fiona Shaw, won best supporting actress, beating Billie Piper, Keeley Hawes and Monica Dolan.
The show went into the awards leading the nominations, but not without controversy. Bafta’s rules say a programme must have premiered in the UK to be eligible, but Killing Eve first aired in the US on BBC America before coming to the UK.
However, the awards’ organisers bent the rules and allowed it to be nominated in recognition of its success and popularity.y.
Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard had been Killing Eve’s main opposition, but it had to make do with one gong – the only award voted for by viewers – Virgin Media’s must-see moment. It claimed the prize for the death of Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes) in an explosion in the BBC One drama.
Benedict Cumberbatch won the leading actor award for his role as Patrick Melrose in the Sky Atlantic drama of the same name. The actor told the audience: “Oh gosh, I think I’m going to fall over, I’m very used to being a bridesmaid not the bride. I’ll keep it short because everyone probably does need to go to the bathroom.”
Piers Morgan’s hopes of a win were dashed by Cambridge Analytica Uncovered(Channel 4), which triumphed in the news coverage category. A camera panned to the Good Morning Britain presenter looking unimpressed. Good Morning Britain had two nominations, for On A Knife Edge and its Thomas Markle exclusive.
Programme-makers thanked the undercover reporter who exposed what Cambridge Analytica was up to. “We couldn’t have done it without him – or her,” they said. “Facebook are saying they are doing what they can to protect people’s data … we still await to see if that’s the case.”
Other winners included
Supporting actor: Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal (BBC One)
Soap and continuing drama: EastEnders (BBC One)
Scripted comedy: Sally4Ever (Sky Atlantic)
Male performance in a comedy programme: Steve Pemberton, Inside No 9(BBC Two)
Female performance in a comedy programme: Jessica Hynes, There She Goes(BBC Four)
Comedy and comedy entertainment programme: A League of Their Own (Sky One)
Factual series: Louis Theroux’s Altered States (BBC Two)
Features: Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC One)